Children’s diet will have a huge effect on their behaviour and mood throughout the day. Food is what fuels children’s body and mind, so make sure they’re getting enough of the right stuff.
Most children need to eat every 3-4 hours (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) to keep their blood-sugar levels consistent. Eating too much sugary food, too often, will increase children’s blood sugar level and make them hyperactive, while long gaps between meals will create a sudden dip in blood sugar levels, which can can cause mood swings and temper tantrums.
What children eat is as important as how often they eat. Our happiness levels are regulated by a chemical called serotonin. Serotonin is a natural anti-depressant; it boosts our mood by sending positive signals to receptors in our brain, making us feel happy!
In order to produce this all-important serotonin, our bodies need certain food. The following mood-boosting foods are easy to incorporate into your child’s diet and will help them feel great!
A glass of milk
Dairy products contain an important amino acid called tryptophan. Our bodies cannot produce tryptophan, so we need to get it from our food. This amino acid is so important because it helps our bodies produce serotonin -a key ingredient for good mood and happiness!
Tryptophan also helps regulate sleeping patterns. Children who have difficulty sleeping through the night are likely to be tired and cranky the next day. Make sure they’re on top form with a glass of milk before bed!
For an even better night’s sleep, try our Quiet Spaces CD.
The B-Vitamins found in eggs are also essential for helping our bodies produce serotonin. Toasted wholemeal bread soldiers will digest slowly, keeping children’s blood sugar levels stable and helping them feel fuller for longer.
Avoid white bread and other refined carbohydrates, as these foods will turn straight to sugar and result in firstly, hyperactivity, and then the inevitable blood sugar crash, which causes tiredness and mood swings.
Boiled egg and brown bread soldiers a wonderful way to start the day off in a great mood!
Don’t wait until halloween to add magnesium-rich pumpkin seeds to your child’s diet! Magnesium is another essential ingredient in the body's production of serotonin. Pumpkin seeds are delicious sprinkled on top of salads, soups or a stir-fry. They are also great on top of a brown bread roll, or even enjoyed on their own as a snack!
Omega 3 fatty acids found in walnuts have been found to raise levels of serotonin in the brain. When your child wants a treat, why not make it a walnut cake? For a healthier option, try adding walnut to salads or a handful on their own makes a great snack.
If your child has a nut allergy, Omega 3 can also be found in fish, tofu or kidney beans.
Protein rich foods like low-fat yoghurt are essential for the slow absorption of carbohydrates, which keep children feeling full and keep blood sugar levels from spiking, which prevent mood swings and crankiness.
For other ways to boost your children's mood, including breathing exercises and affirmation games, find out about Relax Kids Classes.